February 16, 2014

Dear Winter 2013/14, …

I’ve never written a letter to a season before. Odes, yes. Paintings, absolutely! But as of today’s news of approaching Winter Storm Rex, I just have to let my feelings be known. (Don’t get me started on my feelings about the naming of winter storms — that’s going to be a letter addressed to a certain TV Channel, and Mother Nature has no responsibility in this matter.)

Moving to Chicago in August of 2010 was a bold move. Some people used words like “crazy” and “insane,” and it had everything to do with instilling fear about “You-don’t-KNOW-what-winter-is-until-you’ve-spent-one-in-Chicago!!!” Well. The first winter here was no picnic. There was a huge blizzard that took on the awful name of Snowprah. Ugh. (Okay, Weather Channel, kudos to you for not naming that one. For that I blame Facebook.) And though we lost power and got 20+ inches of snow from that storm, I was charmed by a real winter after living in Southern California for five years. I was so charmed I took photos:


snow pile

Cute, right?

Then we experienced a two-year reprieve from what a local might call a “tough” or even “normal” winter. It was nice. In August of last year I thought to myself:

I’ve got this winter thing licked. Now I’ve got the gear: the down coat good for -40 temperatures, an array of warm-to-toasty-to-furnace hats and gloves and scarves, and two pairs of snow boots, and two pairs of non-snow boots, to be fashionably prepared. Bring it on!

Fast forward to THIS year, and it’s no longer cute. It just isn’t. And I’m not taking photos anymore. It’s not that it isn’t beautiful. It’s just that it is SO MUCH. And it isn’t cute. I now feel like a seasoned Chicagoan (I KNOW I’m not – that takes at least a decade, right?). If predictions come to pass for Mr. Rex, we will be just under 70 inches of accumulated snow — with another month and a few days to go of you, Winter 2013/14 (200% above normal)!

And that’s not the worst of it either. These Polar Vortexes or Snaps or whatever you call them have got to go. This business of dumping a foot of snow and then allowing a few hour window to shovel before temperatures drop to -10 (plus insane wind chills of -50) is just plain mean. For the first time in my entire 44 years on this earth, I now have an allergy to cold — in the form of hives that break out all over the bottom half of my face after being outside for more than 20 minutes. Not cool, Winter 2013/14. Not cool.

PLUS, I have a class to teach on Wednesday nights. Intuitive Painting/Mixed Media means nothing to you, Winter 2013/14, but to me and the people in the class it means lugging a bunch of supplies and trying to enjoy a few hours of good creative time together before lugging all that stuff back home again. We’ve missed a class due to your meanness and I don’t want to miss another one.

On that note, though, I do have to thank you, albeit somewhat begrudgingly. Last week in class, I was working on a few pieces I wasn’t sure what to do with after building surfaces and working the paint around for a while. THEN inspiration struck in a flash and two swimming pools emerged on the papers, and I am quite happy with them. Hmmmmm:

Winter Pool 1

Winter Pool 2

So, if you must, Winter 2013/14, carry on with your wicked ways. If we get all the way to Winter Storm Zephyr (curse you, Weather Channel!), there will be tears and possibly a lashing out, but maybe I’ll get a few more good paintings out of you. Just stop allowing my husband and friends to fall on your ice and break, cut and bruise body parts. Okay?!





  1. Dan Mathewson

    February 17, 2014 at 12:06 AM — Reply

    I grew up an hour South West of Chicago. 1974-82. The the last winter there the wind chill got to 42 below. Never again will I go where it is that cold. Sure California like Illinois is an almost failed state. I gotta tell you, though, that 91 degrees in January is pretty darned good.

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